Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Reflections on 9/11

This day, 9/11, remains in my memory as the catalyst for the greatest journey of my life.

While on the Camino in July of that year, I received the inspiration to walk the Way of the Soul to Jerusalem. I was decided, confident that this was my path, seeing only possibilities and paying no heed to the nagging fears that insisted on surfacing…until I got off the Camino.

Conversations with family and friends only focused on the craziness of the idea, of a woman walking alone along the side of the road through countries unknown to a region that people were trying to escape from. My fears began to win over my heart. I began to put aside my calling, and to listen to reason, to fear.

9/11 shook me out of that stupor, and placed me on the path of action, of following my heart even when I didn’t have all the details worked out, of trusting in the invisible forces that had guided me on the Camino, and that were guiding me still.

I reflect on this day often, how easy it would have been to fall deeper into fear and shut myself off from the world. I saw that same struggle on the faces of so many people. Despite the horrors of the day, I also saw so much grace and dignity, so much love and compassion, so many people refusing to bow to fear and to carry on, choosing to light the way rather than close off in darkness.

If there can be a gift from this day, it was to witness that choice and to feel its power reverberating into the heart of all creation.

Namaste <3

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Responding to Conflict

During moments of conflict, Alberto and I are sometimes asked why we keep silent, why we don’t add our voices in support of one side or another, why we don’t publish inflammatory remarks or images, why we don’t condemn what we see. How, we are asked, can we be silent when image after image shows evidence of the inhumanity and cruelty being perpetrated?
Of course, at times, I feel overwhelmed by anger and despair at what I see. I keep asking myself: when are people going to wake up?  When are they going to realize that war solves nothing, no matter the arguments from either side?
It is by choice that we retreat from the heavily-charged emotions and drama. It is by choice that we disengage from destructive and negative energies. There are enough people voicing their outrage, their condemnation, not only on the streets, but on social media and media of all kinds. There is no doubt that awareness of this situation exists. The big question is: now that we are aware, how do we proceed?
Experience has shown Alberto and I, over and again, that wherever we place our attention and our energies, especially passionate ones, will inevitably manifest in our reality in ways we can’t even imagine. Let me give you a simple example that happened to us just today that powerfully demonstrates what we mean. During lunch with a friend, we spoke at length about our recent experiences with people who invade our personal space asking for donations to the charity or cause they represent. It was a passionate conversation with each of us sharing our different stories. Not ten minutes into our conversation, a woman approached our table and, leaning into us, began to ask for money, in the same intense way that we were describing at that moment. The restaurant was full, and our table was in the center of the floor, but she, as if pulled by some invisible thread, came directly to us first. She eventually made her way around all the tables, but we couldn’t help but be amazed at this indisputable synchronicity.
This is but one small example of so many more we can share that demonstrate how intense, focused attention on any subject can make it appear in our reality.
We certainly don’t condemn those who choose to condemn. We applaud the efforts of those trying to create change in whichever way they feel works best for them, and which honors their beliefs and who they are. When we see angry protests, judgments of right and wrong, attempts to create divisions, calls for retribution… to us, these are energies which are adding to the anger, the judgment, the divisions that already exist. Despite their often noble intentions, by focusing so much negatively-charged attention, we feel that they may be amplifying the conflict more than healing it.
We prefer to seek out those who are choosing to create peace and reconciliation despite the horrors they are living. We place our energies and attention on the builders and peace-makers. Although the media may not report on them, they exist. Among them are: Palestine-loves-Israel, Israel-loves-Palestine, Iran-loves-Israel & Palestine, Parents Circle - Families Forum, YaLa-Young Leaders, Jews and Arabs Refuse to be Enemies, Jerusalem Hug, The Peace Factory, Peace It Together, Leading Leaders for Peace, and so many more.
We look within, always, to heal the divisions within our own hearts, from the personal to the emotional and spiritual, believing that inner peace and unity will manifest in outer peace and unity. As Gandhi said, we must be the peace we wish to see in the world.
We hold the image of a united people in our minds, feeding it with our thoughts and belief that it is not only possible, but happening, using the examples of the above-mentioned groups as a foundation.
Above all else, we remember that we chose our life and circumstances for a purpose, just as surely as every single human being on this earth has similarly chosen, for reasons our earthly minds cannot fathom, but which a greater Wisdom and Love does indeed comprehend.
And as difficult as it is to do, we hold on to the belief that, no matter how heart-wrenching the imagery or stories told, the life of each and every one of these individuals served a grand purpose in their spiritual journey and the journeys of all those whose lives they touched.
The days, or moments, when we feel strong and connected with Source, we extend the Light and Love to envelop all of creation, sensing this energy penetrate to the Divine core of every being, just as we feel it penetrating ours. In this way, we lift ourselves and the world around us.
In the silence, we create #peace.
#makepeace #iampeace #JewsandArabsRefuseToBeEnemies.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Elevating the Conversation

"Lift the energy of the Earth, of the denser matter, into the higher planes of Love. There, they are transformed back into their essence, revealing a beauty and grace hitherto unperceived by them and you. This is what is meant by spiritualizing matter.
It means elevating the conversation about the issues of the day, coming at them from a perspective untainted by fear, judgment or expectation, and seeing them as mere creations.
And as mere creations, they can be re-created, or created anew.
That is your work on the Earth, the denser, plane.
Lift the conversation. Reach for higher words, higher thoughts, higher ideas.
Align yourself with the energies of the Light. Place yourself always in the Light, and watch the elements unfold."
I had this reflection late last week during one of my morning walks. I believe these words emerged as a result of a nagging feeling that I had after watching a private screening of "The Change Agents", a wonderfully done movie about the damaging effects of industrialization on the environment. Although the intention was to inform, and the overall message to inspire hope and positive action, so much focus on the problem, and its gravity, ended up leaving me emotionally drained. 

Of course this begs the question of how to focus on a solution without being dragged down by the "problem". No matter the issue of the day, this, I believe, is the greatest challenge. Raising awareness of a situation is important, but once aware, how do we "spiritualize" it? How do we elevate the conversation? I think this is what Einstein meant when he stated that a problem can’t be solved from the same thinking or level of consciousness that created it.

But what does a Love-based solution look like? This is where my thinking is often stretched, where I am asked to suspend my notions of what is, and what is not, possible, and to wade into the realm of imagination, of creativity, of the unknown, to try and tap into a thought that was not present before.

To tap into those realms, to open myself up to the impossible, even if only fleetingly, requires me to be in that state of consciousness, in that place of all-possibility. It requires a mind emptied of thought, and a heart filled with a calm knowing. It requires an inner stillness despite the outer turmoil. I can’t claim to have mastered this path, but I better understand the power of presence and connection as the drivers of action.   
As I now look at the issues of the day, I try to reach for that higher thought about the situation. I try not to fall into the emotion and drama of it all. I also try not to judge, which is not easy, but rather be a dispassionate observer, aware but unattached. I envelop the situation in light, knowing that there is a higher purpose at work, even though I may not understand it, and that this purpose is very much a loving one, inviting us to reach higher (into Love) rather than fall deeper (into fear). That is a moment by moment, individual by individual, choice. No one can make it for us. No one can enter the recesses of our hearts and minds to accompany us there. No one can walk this path for us.

But I do believe that as we continually reach for those higher thoughts, those higher feelings, those higher perspectives - as insignificant as they may seem in the beginning - we are elevating the conversation. We are inviting a different kind of dialogue, and energy, into our lives. We are "spiritualizing" matter and, in consequence, raising our own, and collective, consciousness.

If we were each to do this with whatever issue we are passionate about, imagine the conversation we would have. Imagine the incredible range of inspired ideas, and actions, we would all offer the world. Imagine how transformed we and our world would be.

It does make you think...




Friday, May 23, 2014

Flowing with Life

It's amazing how events unfold when we simply flow with life.

Yesterday, I went to drop off a copy of our Spanish book to Marcelo, a gentleman I met on Sunday at the book launch of our friend Roxana Orue. I had debated going to this even...t because Alberto was leaving for Spain the next day and we had many details to attend to; but I'm glad that I did because I met some truly wonderful people in the Latino community here in Ottawa, Marcelo being one of them.

When he heard the story of our walk, he asked if we would like to come onto his Latino radio show at CHIN Radio Ottawa. I told him we would be delighted, promising to drop off a copy of the book for his review, when I could. Yesterday was the day

I drove to the station without expectation of seeing him, only to drop off the book. After driving around the block twice and not finding parking, I decided to park in a garage not too far away. I walked into the station, repeating my new mantra "I always arrive at the perfect time; not MY time, but the perfect divine time".

I was buzzed in, and walked up to the counter. Who was there? Marcelo! I'm not sure whose surprise was greater at that moment. He excitedly welcomed me and waved me inside, telling me I must meet the host of the show, Veronica. He introduced me quickly, telling me he must rush to finish the last five minutes of the show, and leaving me with her to explain myself. Veronica is so welcoming and engaging, asking me to take a seat while she says her final goodbyes on the show.

As she is signing off, she tells her listeners to tune in next week because they will be doing an interview with me, and then asks me to present myself, on air! I don't know what I said exactly, but I distinctly remember feeling very light, as if I was floating effortlessly through events that had somehow been orchestrated, and that only needed that I release all necessity to control and simply flow with them.

Had I arrived a few seconds earlier or later, I would not have seen Marcelo and would have simply left the book with the receptionist. Had I become frustrated at not finding street parking where I wanted, I would not have driven to the garage and then calmly walked over. So many small decisions that, had I not chosen to remain present and unattached to any outcome, would have most likely resulted in other outcomes. That, to me, is the work of the inner journey, bringing the lessons of pilgrimage into the everyday.

And the best part? It was Marcelo's birthday yesterday...

Friday, April 18, 2014

The inner teaching of Easter

My thinking about Easter, and this time of crucifixion and resurrection, changed radically when I began to read the more mystical and esoteric interpretations of the life of the Great Master known as Jesus. The teachings of White Eagle resonated deeply with my belief that we are eternal beings of Light on a journey of unfolding ever more Light, and bringing it into the world; that our sole/soul journey is to be in ever greater states of that Light, pouring it forth through a heart connected to its Source (which is Love), in every moment.

Image by artist Bruce Harman
The Master Jesus was a perfected instrument for this Great Light; and he blessed the world not only with his teachings, but with his presence and example of BEING this Light, of allowing it to flow through him; and in so doing, demonstrated the ultimate power of this Light, which is to overcome "death".

This is truly a very sacred time, a reminder that though we may suffer (or feel crucified), within that too is the seed for re-birth and ever-greater manifestation of the Light.

Blessings to all,

From White Eagle: 'We wish we could express in earthly words more of the inner significance of the life of the master Jesus. So little is really understood of the inner meaning and the power of that incarnation of the Great White Light - we are speaking not just of Jesus the Nazarene, but the LIGHT which flooded his being and used his physical form. This is the eternal lig...ht in which you will learn to live in full consciousness; and Easter is the demonstration to all people of the inability of people to destroy God's life. However much they try to destroy life it just rises again like the phoenix. There is no death and life cannot be destroyed. This is a most important truth for everyone to absorb into their consciousness. We ask you to meditate on this and as you meditate to remember how you are linked on that higher level of consciousness with the eternal and infinite light, the Son of God, the Sun.'

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Our presence is often enough...

She walked into the bookstore just as I had finished setting up for the book signing. From the conversation that was easily overheard by everyone in this tiny community bookstore, it was clear that she was a student from China who was temporarily studying in Ottawa. What stood out about her, however, was the tension that she exuded; from her high-pitched, slightly-nervous voice, to her awkward gestures, rapid-fire questions and uncertain glances, this lovely, young woman was harbouring some deep pain.

I'm not even sure how I got pulled into the conversation she was having with the salesclerk, but before long, she was revealing her frustrations to me, her unhappiness with her studies, her anger at her father for not allowing her to choose the life she wanted to live, and so much more.... I barely had time to respond, and even when I could offer a comment, she continued to speak, in what was clearly a torrent of words and emotions that had too long been contained.   

A Cosmic Embrace (Source: www.eso.org)
So, I stood in the middle of the store, and listened, as she unburdened her soul. I breathed deeply, anchoring myself in my heart, allowing that energy to fill the space between us. And as the flow of words eased and her manner relaxed, her tears began to flow. I reached over and embraced her, saying very little, only reassuring her that she would find her way, but keeping the energy flowing. When she finally let go, she seemed in a daze, but infinitely more at ease. She asked me to recommend some self-help books, which I did, encouraging her to follow her instincts in choosing the ones that most spoke to her.

I didn't sell a single book that day, but in speaking with the salesclerk after, we both couldn't help but reflect that the true purpose of my being there that day had nothing to do with signing books; that at times we are brought to places to fulfill a role that goes beyond our preconceived plans, and to be, for that moment in time, the instrument though which the Universe brings forth the healing and love that will serve another in their journey.

All we need to do is show up, and open our hearts.

The Universe will take care of the rest.

Our presence is enough.



Monday, January 13, 2014

When we lift another...

The other day, I watched the following KarmaTube video:

Video from KarmaTube

It is the touching story of a high school football team who, unbeknownst to their coach, organize a very special play on the field. Although they control the ball and are clear to score a touchdown, they stop at the 1-yard line.

I have to spoil the video to explain why they do this: to give one of their teammates, who has a learning disability and who has never scored a touchdown, the opportunity to do so. They form a protective barrier around him at the 1-yard line as he runs across the goal line and scores his first touchdown.

Aside from the incredible act of compassion and love, what caught my attention was the name of the team: the Olivet Eagles. Now, olive trees (tree of peace) and eagles (my totem) hold a special place in my heart, so whenever I see them, especially together, I pay attention. 

I watched the video several times to see if there was a message for me. The Eagles could have easily scored that touchdown themselves. They were at the goal line, their success guaranteed and within reach; but, rather than scoring, they decided to lift another, to give the glory to another, and in so doing, forever changing their lives and the life of the other.

That's a very powerful message. Rather than see others as a hindrance, or perhaps even competition, to my goals, if I conspired to help them succeed -- even though I am already at the goal line and don't need to look back or think of anyone's success but my own -- then not only have I assured my success but theirs as well.

I have then acted from a place of love rather than fear.

I am one step closer to the world of cooperation and reconciliation that I envision.

In lifting another, I have lifted myself.